Will Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Lead to the Massive Death of Marine Organisms?

  •  Rostern Tembo    


Ocean acidification represents a threat to marine species worldwide, and forecasting the ecological impacts of acidification is a high priority for science, management, and policy. As research on the topic expands at an exponential rate, a comprehensive understanding of the variability in organisms' responses and corresponding levels of certainty is necessary to forecast the ecological effects. More specifically, what stands to be understood from this review is an understanding of the effects of ocean acidification and whether marine organisms have sufficient physiological plasticity to adapt to the changes in their environment as pCO2 concentration continues to rise. An experiment assessing the impact of ocean acidification on a given species, community, or ecosystem should include realistic changes for all environmental drivers (CO2, temperature, salinity, food concentrations, light availability), and be long-term (i.e., several years) to allow for natural variability and multiple generations of each species under consideration. Single experimental approaches on single organisms often do not capture the true level of complexity of in situ marine environments, and multi-disciplinary approaches involving technological advancements and development are critically needed before a correct determination is made on the mortality of marine organisms.

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